“We just understand there are not a lot of opportunities in this community for jobs and there are not a lot of opportunities for young children and teenagers to see people that look like them succeeding in business. We wanted to bring that here,” Derrick Moore said to USA Today in his 2017 interview. Moore along with fellow Tennessee State University graduates, Clinton Gray and Emanuel Reed, launched their own Pizza Beeria in Nashville that same year. The restaurant was a huge hit locally, and took off to a point where they’ve already expanded before their second anniversary. The trio had a solid business plan, a knack for a good marketing strategy, and understood the importance of inclusion every step of the way.

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It’s not often that I get a chance to probe the brain of an artist. I’m curious about what drives them, what scares them, and why they chose a specific medium to express themselves. Too often we view artists as these aloof individuals that can’t be touched. However, when you do have the chance to meet a REAL artist, you quickly realize that they’re unbelievably human.

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Most famous shoe designers are older white men, many of whom mass produce their products. Baltimore shoe designer Tori Soudan is changing the game, she brings shoe designs to life with her own special touch. She believes that shoes are emotional, and not something to be made on an assembly line.

Soudan’s start in fashion began at the age of nine when her mother began teaching her how to make Easter dresses, then as she grew older as a teenager, her mother showed her how to make prom dresses for her friends. While attending Spelman College in 1994, the shoe designer participated in a study abroad program and traveled to Italy. While overseas she developed an interest in shoe design, after witnessing a demonstration by a master shoemaker on the outskirts of Venice.

After graduating from college, Soudan went on to study at the Parson’s Institute of Design in New York, which led to an internship with Tommy Hilfiger. Following these achievements, she earned an MBA in finance from Northeastern University in Boston, so she would have the knowledge to start her own business.

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